Dorfmeister Wins Final DH, Takes Women's Overall Title

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Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria March 6, 2002 (AP by Marsha Hill)--Michaela Dorfmeister won the final women's World Cup downhill Wednesday to secure the overall title for the season.

With countryman Stephan Eberharter the winner of the men's overall title, Dorfmeister's wrapped up a perfect season for ski-mad Austria.

Dorfmeister is the seventh Austrian woman to win the coveted crystal globe trophy, and Wednesday's result also placed her second in the downhill standings behind Italy's Isolde Kostner.

``I'm very happy with the downhill result because I wasn't sure I could win, but with the World Cup overall title, I haven't really realized yet what it means. I have to take a while to digest it all,'' Dorfmeister said.

The biggest surprise of the day came from American Caroline Lalive. She started 21st in a field of 22 and finished in second place.

Dorfmeister was timed in 1 minute, 40.09 seconds, while Lalive's clocking was 1:40.28. French racer Melanie Suchet was third with 1.40.29.

Suchet had a heart-stopping finish when she almost lost her balance yards from the finish, only to regain her composure and stance to cross the line.

Dorfmeister risked everything in an all or nothing dash down the hill. She stumbled at the top, but charged through the middle section in super-G style before crossing the line to the cheers of thousands of spectators lining the course.

Switzerland's Corinne Rey Bellet was fourth fastest in 1:40.47, 0.38 seconds off the winning pace. American Julia Mancuso, last out of the starting gate, was fifth in 1:40.72.

Olympic gold medalist Carole Montillet and downhill title winner Kostner both finished back in the pack.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press